The world's largest publishing conference, Germany's Frankfurt Book Fair, concluded Sunday. It's the place for big international book deals, and also serves as a measure for the health of the industry. And things, according to reports of those who were there, seem pretty cheery.
Here are some highlights from the eyewitnesses:
Accolades: American writer Jaron Lanier was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade Assn. Lanier, a digital pioneer and theorist, is the author of "Who Owns the Future" and "You Are Not a Gadget."
Enormous bucks: Random House won a bidding war with a rumored $2-million, three-book deal for newcomer Emma Cline, a 25-year-old American who grew up in California. Her debut novel, "The Girls," is based on women in a Manson family-type cult.
Big bucks: Another deal rumored to be in the seven figures was for "The Longings of Jende Jonga," a novel by Imbolo Mbue. Random House, again, went big for a debut, this time from Cameroonian Mbue, a 33-year-old who moved to New York in 1998. Her novel is about an immigrant family that is hired by a Lehman Brothers exec shortly before the 2008 recession.
And more big bucks: A nonfiction book from MacArthur "Genius" Fellow Angela Duckworth also garnered seven figures, according to Publishers Weekly. Scribner will publish Duckworth's "Grit: Passion, Perseverance and the Science of Success."
El Buzz: One of the talked-about books at the fair is the Spanish novel "También Esto Pasará" ("This Too Shall Pass") by Milena Busquets. The story is about a woman who decamps to a beach house after her mother's death — with her kids, both ex-husbands and her lover.
Amazon makes a play: Amazon in Germany announced a flat-rate plan for access to e-book titles. Amazon currently has 50%-70% of Germany's e-book market, which is about 16% of book sales in the country overall.